Is "eating clean" what you think it means?
I've heard the phrase "eat clean" for a few years now. Most people, when asked, would agree that eating clean is what they should be doing. But if you ask those same people to describe a clean eating day, they'll each share a different answer with foods some wouldn't consider clean at all.
"Eating clean" is about as broad of a description as "eating healthy". What does it really mean? In this blog, I'll explain the general sentiment of eating clean along with my recommendations for ensuring that you're eating a truly nourishing diet.
It's mostly agreed upon that eating clean involves little to no processed foods. This is a fantastic starting point for healthy eating.
The challenge with this is, most people aren't aware of what classifies as processed food. Whole grain bread, juices, gluten free products, fake meats, turkey sandwiches, heart healthy granola bars and cereals, low fat or fat free yogurts, and sugar free sweeteners are actually all processed foods that are not contributing to your overall health.
Additionally, I am a firm believer in the importance of quality. Non organic produce contains harmful pesticides and herbicides that can be harmful to your gut. Meats that are raised conventionally usually contain antibiotics, hormones, higher omega-6's, and less nutrients than grass fed or pasture raised. Clean, I believe, should include quality foods.
If you've been "eating clean" for a while, but still struggling to hit your health goals, feeling tired, having digestive discomfort, or finding yourself more anxious than usual, it might be because you need to make some dietary adjustments.
Truly unprocessed foods are whole foods - they have one ingredient: chicken thigh, sweet potato, apple, zucchini... these are all unaltered.
Every body is different and some of us need more or less or certain macro and micronutrients. However, there is a baseline dynamic to healthy eating.
In general, I recommend that my clients follow a predominantly paleo or "primal" eating style. That means they eat meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They have little to no dairy. If they do, it's organic and grass fed, and they largely eliminate grains.
This takes clean eating to a new level, something called "nutrient dense" eating.
We want to be consuming foods that are devoid of "unclean" ingredients or additive AND that are dense in the nutrients that they provide our body. Food is meant to be both enjoyable and nutritious. Out body should benefit from each meal, not suffer by having to weed out toxins and pull nutrients from other parts of itself instead of from the food we give it.
To learn how to shift to nutrient dense eating in a fun, simple way, sign up for the upcoming Hope & Health through the Holiday's program starting next month!